Cleanup party in the pantry

Cleanup party in the pantry

Our house has long boasted of having a well-shelved pantry, but over the years that pantry seems to have shrunk. In the past few years, that shrinkage has become more pronounced. A few days ago, I arrived home with several bags of groceries and discovered the pantry was totally stuffed.

Given no choice, I had to address the issue right then. So why, I asked myself, did I need to buy groceries if our pantry was full? Actually, the shelves were full of more than a few items long past their sell-by date. Some boxes were almost empty, holding just scant bits of their original contents.

That’s when the clearing out began. All those items past their use-by date were thrown in a trash bag. What a waste! In no time at all, another trash bag had to be brought in to hold even more outdated things. One almost-full spice jar was dated 2005. A can of condensed milk was dated even older; it recently celebrated its 20th birthday.

By the time the shelf clearing was finished, both trash cans were full — a wasteful and embarrassing exercise, I have to admit. Our poor pantry had been ignored for far too long. I could only promise to make up for the neglect those shelves had suffered and promise never to let it happen again.

Now each shelf has been carefully cleaned, and the restocking has begun. I decided to alphabetize the contents of each shelf and mark each item with the purchase date. One shelf was reserved for the spices, which are now arranged in alphabetical order. Canned goods required two shelves and glass containers only one.

Our pantry now can be considered a show place. It is not only clean and neat, but also has plenty of room for new items. Granted, it does require more effort to maintain such an elegant pantry, but it is so much easier to find what is needed without having to hunt through every shelf. Taller Half is having a bit of difficulty adjusting to our organized pantry, but he’s making it. He even found his hot sauce without calling me for help.

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